win-win partnerships

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This morning I experienced an ICT disaster: Upon starting my laptop it reset itself into its virgin state and that during a time when I had been more than lazy with my back-ups. Fortunately my internet access was still intact and my mood was raised by an email from Michael Gleich, science journalist and co-creator of Culture Counts. In it he pointed me to two worthwhile initiatives (Thanks Michael!).

The first was Cotton made in Africa, an initiative started by the Otto group and supported by, amongst others, Tom Tailor, the DEG (German Investment and Development Association) and the GTZ, the main German state agency for development aid. Goal of the cooperation is to support the sustainable growth of cotton in African and its fair trade.The site is worth a closer look. Amongst others there is an interview about the future of CSR and an article by Michael Gleich about one of the buzzword of our time – sustainability. (Did you know that worldwide there are over 800 different defitions of sustainibility in use and in discussion?)

A comparable approach – poverty reduction through economic development instead through “help” given from one large institution (state aid agencies, large international NGOs) to another (governments and regions) – is followed by Osram, the German lightning manufacturer, who supports a  project on Lake Victoria. There, kerosene lamps, polluting the lake and increasingly unaffordable for the fishermen, are being replaced by solar-operated lamps. Everybody profits from the project: the environment, die local population and the company, which opens up a new market and improves its image (although, strangely enough, I couldn’t find anything on the Osram site about the project). 

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